As we continue our look at Nike Sportswear’s 3×3: The Windrunner Shorts, film makers, we spoke with founder of Robot Films, Chris Robinson. Most famous for his role in some of the best known music videos and commercials, Robinson, along with Adam Weissman, and Todd James, was asked to make a series of 3 short films to promote The Windrunner. Slam X Hype’s Yevgeniy sat down with Chris Robinson to find out more.
Yevgeniy Shukhman – Chris, how did you get involved with Nike Sportswear’s 3X3: The Windrunner Shorts project?
Chris Robinson – You know, I was brought up to the Nike Sportswear spot, and we talked about doing some stuff a few times. They said cool, we really like that “Lucky” thing you do, and why don’t you do it as part of our 3X3 project.
YS – So what is the concept behind your 3X3 short films?
CR – It’s actually something I’ve been shooting for years. It’s about a kid named Lucky who moves from New York to Los Angeles to chase his dream of becoming a director. Instead, he becomes a Production Assistant. The irony is that the guy who plays Lucky is really our friend Anthony “Dust” Ortiz. You know, he’d work on our sets, but the thing is, he was the most horrible PA ever! The producers would want to fire him. He was slacker. He did not do a good job and all that. So we said fuck it. Why don’t I shoot a show about you. You’d come to the set, and we would pay you as PA, but all you do is just act. So that’s how it naturally happened. Over the last four or five years, I’ve been on the set with P. Diddy, and Big Boi from “Outcast”. I’d talk to the guys about Lucky, and ask them to be in scene for Lucky. Everyone loved it! It’s kinda been our inside thing. My company is Robot Films, and we’d put stuff about Lucky on the internet and what not. We have grand plans for Lucky, like one day it would become a real half hour show. We all think it’s really funny, but we don’t show it to anybody else! Others might think it sucks, but we think it is hilarious!
YS – Right! So is this the first time you show Lucky to anyone outside your crew? Has Nike Sportswear seen it?
CR – Yeah. Nike Sportswear has seen it. They love it, otherwise I wouldn’t be here!
YS – So how did you incorporate a Windrunner Jacket into the story of Lucky?
CR – You know, we kinda made a Windrunner Jacket into a cloak that protects Lucky. It is his Dad’s lucky jacket that he gives to his son Lucky before he embarks on a journey to find his fame and fortune.
YS – So what are you working at the moment – perhaps a feature film?
CR – I’ve got a lot of things in different stages of development. I like to say, it’s like you have a lot of pots cooking on the stove in the kitchen. Hopefully, one will come to a boil. I’d like to talk about a project that’s
very close to my heart. It’s a Baltimore story, and it’s called “Treat Street”. It’s a story about this old tradition at the horse stables, right in the middle of the city, where the projects are. There are these old men who ride horses and sell treats – still now in the modern day! It is a tradition from the 1700’s that still exists. I found this photographer when I was looking through Fader Magazine. She did these amazing pictures in ’80’s about it, and I just got into it being that I’m from Baltimore. I got Rob Stone to make calls, and we are looking to produce this film in ’09.
YS – Sounds very exciting! You are not going to abandon directing Music Videos in favor of Feature Films are you?
CS – Oh no. I love videos. I love music. I just shot for Nas, Luda, and Usher. Like all these guys are my old friends with whom I’ve been working with for ten years. It’s music and creative freedom – so yeah!
YS – What’s coming up next for you that everyone should know about?
CS – I’m going to London. We are doing a concert series at Royal Albert Hall called “Rockcorps”. The whole concept of Rockcorps is the kids do four hours of community service, and they get a ticket for the show. We’ve done it here in LA at the Kodak Theater. Also in Atlanta, Houston, and Miami. We’d get like 5,000 kids, which equals to 20,000 hours of community service that goes to the city. We’ve had Kanye West and Luda perform. Now we’ve got Busta Rhymes, Ludacris and John Legend. So this is the first time we are going International. Very exciting.
YS – Thanks so much Chris.
CS – Anytime man.